This post is for people who love really beautiful contemporary music. It is about a man who has been in the business for more than 40 years of making everyone else sound great.
Composer, arranger, producer, and keyboardist David Foster is among the most commercially successful producers and composers in all of popular music. He has been credited with being one of the leaders in defining the adult contemporary format.
Foster’s sweeping power-ballad signature is ingrained in smash hits by Céline Dion, Chicago, Barbra Streisand, and Whitney Houston. In the 21st century, he has helped launch the multi-platinum careers of male crooners Josh Groban and Michael Bublé, plus serving as chairman of the Verve Music Group from 2012 to 2016.
But it has been said in a colloquial, perhaps sexist expression that behind every successful man is a good woman. In David’s case, it was his first spouse, BJ Cook who was key in connecting him with the music business and it all goes back to raucous times with Ronnie Hawkins.
1972 / Skylark / “Woodstock” / David Foster keyboard / BJ Cook lead vocal
1972 / Skylark / “Wildflower” / written by Doug Edwards and Dave Richardson / lead vocal Donny Gerrard (1946-2022)
David Foster – Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire
1986 / David Foster and Olivia Newton-John – The Best Of Me
In this video, you get a glimpse of David doing his magic in the mixing booth
1988 / David Foster – “Winter Games” – Official Video
1993 / Tom Jones & David Foster – Mary’s Boy Child
David Foster – Earth,Wind&Fire “September” and “After The Love Has Gone“
Tell Him / Loren Allred and Pia Toscano LIVE with David Foster
David Foster & Friends: Peter Cetera – Medley
You might notice in this video that the sound of Cetera’s voice seems at times to almost override the level of the huge orchestral accompaniment. That is the way David Foster wanted to hear the voice in relation to the background music – perfect blend and every instrument can be heard.
Andrea Bocelli, David Foster – Cantique De Noel
You may notice Foster surrounds himself with the very best artists to support them and bring out the best in them
Blake Shelton / May 23, 2008 show at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
2019 / Never Enough / Loren Allred / with David Foster on PBS “An Intimate Evening with David Foster”
David Foster | Medley 2 | Juno Songwriter’s Circle 2019
Watch how David, on the fly, brings out the best in an artist with an impromptu performance
Katharine McPhee Foster & David Foster – Somewhere over the rainbow @ CAC Gala (11 April 2021)
Kat McPhee & Michael Bublé sing in Hawaii with David Foster
2020 / David Foster: “When A Man Loves A Woman/It’s A Mans World” (Seal/Michael Bolton)
A complete story about David Foster that cannot be overshadowed is to be found in Wikipedia:
Meanwhile, we give credit for most of what follows to ALLMUSIC.com
Made in Canada -Born in Victoria, British Columbia,
Young David Foster began studying piano at the age of five and enrolled in the University of Washington’s music program eight years later.
In 1966 as a 16-year-old, he moved to Toronto to join Ronnie Hawkins band. He then joined Chuck Berry’s backing band, In 1974 he relocated to Los Angeles with his Canadian group Skylark, which scored a major hit the following year with their single “Wildflower.”
Foster’s producer/composer/arranger career began when he helmed the 1976 eponymous debut of his own group Attitudes. Attitudes was a pop/rock quartet from Los Angeles made up of some well-known names — David Foster on keyboards, guitarist Danny Korthmar (who worked extensively with James Taylor and Don Henley), bassist Paul Stallworth, and session drummer Jim Keltner.
The group was signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records label and made two albums in the mid-’70s; a single, “Sweet Summer Music“, charted at number 94 in 1976.
Foster soon turned to outside projects as well, writing and producing material for Hall & Oates, Deniece Williams, Carole Bayer Sager, Boz Scaggs, and the Average White Band.
Foster became a sought-after session keyboardist, appearing on recordings from superstars including John Lennon, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, and Rod Stewart.
In 1979, he earned his first Grammy Award for penning Earth, Wind and Fire‘s “After the Love Has Gone.”
From there, Foster’s career exploded, and he was soon writing and producing for artists like Kenny Rogers, the Tubes, and Kenny Loggins.
In 1982, he won a second Grammy for producing the original cast album to the Broadway hit Dreamgirls; he also composed and produced Chicago’s hit “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” followed in 1983 by work on Lionel Richie’s blockbuster Can’t Slow Down.
With 1984’s Chicago 17, Foster scored his greatest success to date, with Chicago’s smash single “Hard Habit to Break” earning him a Grammy for Producer of the Year.
A year later, Foster wrote and produced John Parr’s hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion),” and in 1986 he reunited with Chicago — not only for their 18 LP, which launched the hit “Will You Still Love Me,” but also with the group’s singer, Peter Cetera, for whom he wrote the chart-topping “The Glory of Love.”
By now Foster was among the most successful producers in pop. Though reviled by critics, his work was enormously successful on the charts, with dozens of Top 40 hits attributed to his name. However, he was atypically quiet during the latter half of the 1980s, most notably teaming with Neil Diamond on his 1988 album The Best Years of Our Lives and working on a variety of film projects and one-off studio dates.
In 1990, Foster began his collaboration with Celine Dion, writing and producing material for her Unison album and generating the hit “Have a Heart.” A year later, he teamed with Natalie Cole for her mega-hit Unforgettable and won three more Grammys: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Producer of the Year.
In 1992, Foster collaborated with Whitney Houston on the multi-platinum soundtrack to her hit film The Bodyguard, which netted him another Album of the Year Grammy at the following year’s award ceremony, with the blockbuster single “I Will Always Love You” also winning Record of the Year. Again, he took home Producer of the Year honors as well; additionally, “When I Fall in Love,” the theme to Sleepless in Seattle performed by Celine Dion and Clive Griffin, garnered Foster another trophy as arranger.
For Dion, he next produced 1993’s The Colour of My Love, which spawned the smash “The Power of Love,” and a year later, he helmed All-4-One’s I Swear.
With Dion’s 1996 Falling into You, Foster again took home the Album of the Year Grammy; the blockbuster Because You Loved Me, whose title track was the theme song for the romantic drama Up Close & Personal, was also a nominee in the Record of the Year category.
A major production hit from that same year was Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart.”
David Foster’s accolades stretched into the 21st century, when he helped launch the multi-platinum careers of two male crooners: Josh Groban and Michael Bublé.
He continued releasing his own material, too, having issued over ten albums since the early ’80s. Foster toured as well, often employing a collaborative “Foster and friends” approach for his performances. That approach was captured on The Hit Man Returns, a live album taken from a 2010 concert that featured guest performances by Seal, Martina McBride, Donna Summer, and more than ten other artists with whom Foster had previously worked.
Foster spent a portion of the mid-2010s as a judge on Asia’s Got Talent, appearing on the show in 2015, 2017, and 2019. His music was celebrated in grand fashion in 2019 via An Intimate Evening with David Foster, a concert broadcast on PBS (and later released to the home market in 2020) featuring Fernando Varela, Pia Toscano, and Katharine McPhee, the American Idol vet who became his wife in 2018.
On a personal note
Foster has been married five times and has five daughters, one son, and seven grandchildren. His first child, Allison Jones Foster (b. 1970), was born when Foster was 20. He placed her for adoption and reconnected with her when she was 30.
His first marriage was to singer and writer B.J. Cook. Cook and Foster had one daughter together, Amy Skylark (b. 1973), a songwriter and author.
He married his second wife, Rebecca Dyer, on October 27, 1982, and they divorced in 1986. They had three daughters: Sara (b. 1981), Erin (b. 1982), and Jordan.
He married his third wife, actress Linda Thompson, in 1991 and divorced in 2005. The two became a songwriting team, collaborating on several songs, including “I Have Nothing”, performed by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard (1992), and “Grown-Up Christmas List”. Foster was stepfather to Brody and Brandon Jenner (Linda’s sons with Caitlyn Jenner), who both grew up living in his Malibu home. Both Jenner boys starred in a short-lived TV reality show called The Princes of Malibu in 2005 which also featured Foster and Thompson and was filmed in Foster’s and Thompson’s home.
Foster married his fourth wife, Dutch model Yolanda Hadid, in Beverly Hills, California on November 11, 2011. David had three stepchildren from Yolanda Foster’s previous marriage to Mohamed Hadid: Gigi (b. 1995), Bella (b. 1996), and Anwar (b. 1999). On December 1, 2015, Foster announced that after four years of marriage and nine years together, he and Yolanda had made the decision to divorce. The divorce was finalized on October 16, 2017.
In June 2018, Foster became engaged to Katharine McPhee. On June 28, 2019, the couple wed at the Armenian Church of St Yeghiche, South Kensington in London. McPhee gave birth to a son, Rennie David, in February 2021.
David Foster Greatest Hits